A SMALL band of hardy souls braved the pleasant Saturday morning sun for Barby Cricket Club’s annual work day to prepare the ground for the new season.
The usual faces (and a couple of new ones) set about vital pitch care and ground maintenance, while brute force was employed to get the boundary ropes laid out and the covers rebuilt and moved into place.
The club, which is just over four miles from Daventry, has one of the most beautiful grounds in the area with excellent facilities. On the pitch, the first team have won promotion in the Warwickshire League four times in the past six years and now play in Warwickshire Division 1.
But that success has put greater emphasis on developing the teams and attracting new blood, particularly juniors.
Chairman Rob Field, 40, said: “We’ve done extremely well over the past few years, moving up the leagues. And that’s great, but the goal of the club is really to develop cricket in the community.
“We want to give people of all ages, sexes and ability access to play cricket at the best level they can and to come here and feel welcome.
“It’s a fantastic family club with a great social side, but going back a few years, we’ve probably not attracted as many new faces as we need to, particularly from the Daventry side.
“But that’s changing. We’re looking at getting into the schools and have people like Rory Long and Dave Williams in charge of youth development and building from the bottom up.”
Head of cricket, and second XI captain Stev Stipanovic, 47, is also keen to promote youth development.
He said: “We’ve got strong under 11s and under 13s, but we could always do with more and if we can get the numbers we want to expand that to under 15s or 17s. The young players then feed the senior teams.”
First team captain Tom Gleghorn, 29, has high hopes for the new season which starts with the visit of Ambleside on Saturday.
He said: “It’s a tough league with some strong clubs, but we’re looking towards promotion.
“Some of the clubs have bigger catchment areas – Atherstone, Rugby, Walsall even Birmingham - so we punch above our weight.
“We rely on homegrown talent. We’ve historically had a really strong junior section and the majority of the first team came up from there.”
Junior coaching runs every Friday from 6.15pm to 7.30pm with between four and six qualified coaches. There is a signing on session this Friday 20th to which all are welcome. Nets for seniors is on Thursdays from 6.15pm.
The club is also looking for businesses interested in sponsorship.
For more information on playing or other matters, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Stev Stipanovic on 07746031307